17 Playwright Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a playwright, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Playwrights are the creative minds behind the words and ideas that make up the scripts for plays. They may also be involved in the production process, from the initial brainstorming to the final rehearsal. But before a playwright can get to the production stage, he or she needs to ace the job interview.

Playwright interview questions will focus on your writing process, your understanding of the theater world, and your ability to communicate your ideas. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common playwright interview questions, along with sample answers.

Are you comfortable working with a team of other writers to create a play?

Playwrights often work with other writers to create a play. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable working in a team setting and collaborating with others. In your answer, explain that you enjoy working with others as long as everyone is respectful of each other’s ideas. Explain that you are willing to compromise and collaborate with the rest of the team to create the best possible play.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable working with a team of other writers. I have worked on several projects where I was one of many writers. While it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page at first, I find that if we respect each other’s ideas and communicate well, we can usually come up with something great together. I’m always open to hearing new ideas from my teammates and incorporating them into my own writing.”

What are some of your favorite plays and why?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and your interests. It also helps them understand what kind of plays you enjoy, which may be similar to those produced by their theater company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few specific details about why you like each play.

Example: “I have always been a fan of Shakespeare’s work. I love how he was able to create such complex characters that are so relatable. His writing is beautiful and his stories are timeless. Another favorite of mine is ‘The Glass Menagerie’ by Tennessee Williams. The way he writes female characters is so unique and interesting. He has an ability to make even the most unlikable characters seem sympathetic.”

How do you come up with ideas for new plays?

Playwrights need to have a creative mind and be able to come up with new ideas for plays. Employers ask this question to see if you can generate your own ideas or if you are looking for inspiration from others. In your answer, explain how you would go about generating ideas for new plays. Share an example of when you came up with an idea for a play that was successful.

Example: “I find inspiration in many different places. I am always paying attention to the world around me and what is happening in it. This helps me come up with ideas for plays that reflect current events. For instance, last year there was a lot of news coverage on police brutality. I wrote a play based on these stories because I felt like they were important stories that needed to be told.”

What is your process for adapting an existing work into a new play?

This question can help the interviewer understand your process for adapting a work and how you use your creativity to create new plays. Use examples from past experiences in which you adapted an existing work into a play, such as:

Example: “I first read through the original work thoroughly before deciding what elements I want to include in my adaptation. Then, I write out all of my ideas on paper so that I can organize them by theme or plotline. Next, I start writing the script for the new play, making sure to keep the same tone and style of the original work while also adding my own unique voice and perspective.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to collaborate with other members of a production team to solve a problem.

Collaboration is an important skill for playwrights to have, as they often work with other members of the production team. The interviewer may ask you this question to gain insight into your teamwork skills and how you approach problem-solving. In your answer, try to highlight your communication and interpersonal skills.

Example: “In my previous role, I worked on a large-scale theatrical production that required collaboration between many different people. One day, we were in rehearsal when one of the actors forgot their lines. Rather than trying to cover up for them, I decided to pause the rehearsal so we could give the actor time to remember their lines. This allowed us to avoid any major issues later in the show.”

If you had the opportunity to rewrite a past play, what would you change?

This question can help an interviewer determine your level of self-reflection and how you learn from past mistakes. It also shows that you’re willing to make changes for the better, which is a valuable skill in any field. When answering this question, it’s important to be honest about what you would change while still showing respect for the play itself.

Example: “I wrote a play once where I had two characters who were supposed to have a romantic relationship but never got together by the end. If I could rewrite it, I would add more scenes between them so their feelings were more obvious. This way, the audience would understand why they didn’t get together at the end.”

What would you do if a member of the production team disagreed with your interpretation of a character?

Playwrights often have to work with other members of the production team, such as directors and actors. An interviewer may ask this question to understand how you collaborate with others on a project. In your answer, try to show that you can be open-minded and willing to compromise when necessary.

Example: “I would first listen to their interpretation of the character and consider whether there are any elements I could incorporate into my own version. If not, I would explain why I feel my interpretation is more accurate and offer to rewrite the character’s dialogue so it better aligns with my vision.”

How well do you handle criticism?

Playwrights often receive feedback from their directors and other playwrights. This question helps employers understand how you react to criticism, which is an important skill for a playwright to have. In your answer, explain that you welcome constructive criticism because it allows you to improve your work.

Example: “I love receiving feedback on my plays because it gives me the opportunity to make improvements. I find that most of the time, people are just trying to help me with my writing. If someone has something negative to say about one of my plays, I try to listen carefully and take notes so I can use their advice in future projects.”

Do you have any experience directing a play?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with directing a play and how you might handle any challenges that may arise during rehearsals. Use examples from past experiences to highlight your leadership skills, communication abilities and conflict resolution skills.

Example: “In my last position as a playwright, I also directed the production of our plays. This helped me understand what it was like for actors to work under someone else’s direction. In one instance, an actor wasn’t able to make it to rehearsal on time because they were sick. I had to find a replacement quickly so we could continue rehearsing without missing much time. I called in another actor who knew the lines well enough to fill in for the day.”

When working with actors, how do you help them understand the character’s motivations?

Actors need to understand the motivations of their characters in order to portray them accurately. The interviewer may ask this question to see how you work with actors and help them develop their character’s personality. In your answer, explain a specific time when you helped an actor better understand their role.

Example: “I always make sure that I thoroughly outline each character’s backstory before beginning rehearsal. This helps me communicate what motivates each character so that the actors can use it as inspiration for their performance. For example, if a character is shy, the actor should know why they are shy and how they react to different situations. This allows them to create a more realistic portrayal of the character.”

We want to attract younger audiences to our productions. How would you approach this goal as a playwright?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your ability to write for different audiences. Your answer should demonstrate that you can create compelling stories and characters that appeal to all ages.

Example: “I believe it’s important to write plays that are relatable to the audience, regardless of their age. I would start by researching what types of productions my target audience enjoys. Then, I would use these insights to inform my writing process. For example, if I learned that younger audiences enjoy more contemporary themes, I would make sure to include those in my play. However, I would also ensure that there is something for everyone.”

Describe your writing process.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and what methods you use to complete it. Describe a typical writing day, including when you write, where you write and any other details that are relevant to your process.

Example: “I typically begin my writing process by researching the topic I’m going to cover in my play. Once I have an idea of what I want to write about, I start outlining the scenes and characters I’ll need for the production. Then, I sit down at my computer and start typing out the script. I usually take breaks throughout the day to stretch and get some fresh air. After I’ve finished the first draft, I read through it several times to make sure there aren’t any errors or typos.”

What makes a good play?

This question can help the interviewer determine your understanding of what makes a play successful. Use examples from plays you’ve written to explain how you know when a play is good and why it’s effective.

Example: “A good play has an interesting plot, relatable characters and a clear message that resonates with the audience. I think my most recent play was successful because it had all three of these elements. The main character in this play was a young girl who wanted to be a scientist but felt like she couldn’t pursue her dreams because of societal expectations. She eventually realizes that she doesn’t have to conform to society’s standards and can do whatever she wants.”

Which playwright inspires you the most and why?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a writer and understand your writing process. It also helps them determine if you have any experience with playwriting, which is important for this role. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific playwright that you admire and explain why they inspire you.

Example: “I’ve always admired Shakespeare’s ability to create such complex characters in his plays. I find myself inspired by his work because he was able to write so many different types of stories. He wrote comedies, tragedies, histories and more, and each one of his works has a unique plot and set of characters. I hope to someday be able to write like him.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a playwright to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine what skills you have that are relevant to this role. They may also use your answer to decide whether or not you possess the necessary skills for the job. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific skill and how you’ve used it in previous roles.

Example: “I think one of the most important skills for a playwright is creativity. Playwrights need to be able to come up with new ideas and develop them into full-length plays. I’m always looking for ways to improve my creative thinking and problem-solving skills so I can create more interesting stories.”

How often do you think a play should be performed?

This question can help an interviewer understand your thoughts on the longevity of a play. Your answer should show that you value quality over quantity and are willing to put in the work to make sure each production is successful.

Example: “I think it’s important for plays to be performed often enough so that they remain relevant. I’ve seen productions where actors have forgotten their lines or props, which makes the audience feel like they’re watching a poorly rehearsed high school play. If a play isn’t going to be performed by professionals who take pride in their craft, then I don’t think it should be produced at all.”

There is a new technology that could drastically change how people experience live performances. Would you be interested in using this technology in one of your plays?

This question is a great way to determine how open the candidate is to new ideas and technologies. It also shows that you are looking for someone who can adapt to change. When answering this question, it’s important to show your interest in technology and willingness to try something new.

Example: “I would definitely be interested in using this technology in one of my plays. I think it could make live performances more exciting and engaging for audiences. However, I would want to test out the technology before incorporating it into a play. I don’t want to put on a production that isn’t ready for its audience.”


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